Sevilla kept their slim La Liga title chances alive with a win over Valencia at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuan.
It wasn’t a vintage performance from Julen Lopetegui’s side, who struggled to create anything of note in a lacklustre opening 45 minutes.
But the moment of quality finally came and it was in-form forward Youssef En-Nesyri who provided it, timing his clever run perfectly to beat the Valencia offside trap before slotting a cool finish past the onrushing Jasper Cillessen.
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And the Andalusians played out the remaining 24 minutes with relative ease to claim all three points.
Sevilla stay fourth despite the win, but move just three points off league leaders Atletico Madrid, two behind Barcelona and one point shy of Real Madrid as the four-way La Liga title race goes down to the wire.
Talking Point – Good but not enough?
Sevilla’s win does mean that mathematically they are still in the title hunt, but the loss to Bilbao two weeks ago has left them with too much to do in all likelihood. The draw against Real Madrid at the weekend was impressive, but again it probably needed to be three points. As it stands, Sevilla need all three of the best teams in the league to slip up more than once if they are to take the title. It’s not going to happen.
Man of the Match - Youssef En-Nesyri (Sevilla)
It looked like being a frustrating evening for the centre-forward, whose goals have lifted Sevilla up into title contention. But he shook off a couple of early fluffed chances to clinically dispatch the match-winning chance, surviving a lengthy VAR review to earn his team the win.
Sevilla: Bono 7; Jesús Navas 6, Koundé 6, Diego Carlos 6, Escudero 6; Jordán 7, Gudelj 7, Óliver Torres 6; Suso 7, En-Nesyri 7, Óscar Rodríguez 6. Subs: Gomez 7, Acuna 7, Fernando 7, Oscampos 6, Rakitic 6
Valencia: Cillessen 7; Correia 6, Paulista 6, Guillamón 6, Ferro 5, Lato 6; Manu Vallejo 7, Carlos Soler 7, Racic 6; Guedes 5, Maxi Gómez 5. Subs: Piccini 6, Cheryshev 5, Gaya 6, Gameiro 6, Musah 6
22’ – Suso emphatically finds the far corner of the net after his run is picked out by a fine ball over the top, but he was just offside and the goal is chalked off.
34’ – What a hit that is. Gudelj is miles out but has a pop anyway, and his swerving shot very nearly picks out the far corner. Cillessen wasn’t getting that.
65’ – En-Nesyri finds space in the box and is picked out by a gem of a cross, but he slides his header wide of the far post. He should have done better there.
66’ GOAL! – This time En-Nesyri makes no mistake, making a perfectly-timed run to nip in behind the Valencia defence and slotting home past the onrushing Cillessen. It’ll be checked by VAR though…
Stats and Facts
This was Sevilla’s 23rd win of the season, equalling their best ever total number of wins in a single La Liga season.
En-Nesyri has now opened the scoring in 10 separate games this season for Sevilla, that’s more than any other player in the division (Messi is second with eight).
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